Marian Louise Connell of Margaretville died peacefully Tuesday, June 24, 2008 at age 97. She was born in Baldwinsville on February 25, 1911, the daughter of J. Carl and Louise Bigelow Connell.
She graduated from Baldwinsville Academy in 1928 and received her B.A. in math and sciences from Syracuse University in 1932. She received a master’s with honors in Physics from Syracuse University in 1940 and was a member of Sigma Pi Sigma. After she received her master’s degree in Physics in 1940, the next one to be conferred upon a woman wasn’t until 1953. Marian taught science and math in the Margaretville High School for 44 years starting in 1932. A deeply dedicated and award-winning teacher, she taught a wide range of courses, helped develop the NYS science syllabus and served on the NYS Regents Committee. Marian founded and advised a chapter of the National Honor Society, which is now named for her. She received awards to continue her studies at Oneonta State, Cortland State and Cornell universities doing significant research on the glacial history of the Catskill Region.
Miss Connell was a Girl Scout leader because the principal told her when she arrived in Margaretville, “our village needs a Girl Scout Troop.” She took kids on a hike for their first meeting, and the moms got involved, which gained her entrée into the village; she got to know everybody.
Her father got her interested in photography, She had a dark room in a small storeroom off her science room at school. She bought the equipment herself, and on free time and sometimes Saturdays, she and some of the students processed film and made prints. “It was sort of a club” she said. During WWII she used to develop soldier photos almost every night, giving prints to parents and friends. More than 400 of these images now hang in the Legion Hall, a lasting legacy of her love for this community.
Her civic contributions included organizing the Margaretville Hospital Auxiliary’s Annual Antique and Flea Market benefit, serving as president of the MMH Auxiliary and secretary of the Board of the Margaretville Memorial Hospital. When not engaged in community service, she could be found in her garden. A passionate gardener, she wrote a garden column and returned to school for a degree in horticulture from Cobleskill when she retired from teaching.
Marian was a member of the Margaretville Presbyterian Church serving on session and other church committees.
Surviving are a lifelong friend, Trudy Klapper; sister, Constance Connell McNeilly and many dear friends.
Donations in Marian’s memory may be made to “MCS Dollars for Scholars”for a scholarship in her name, at Margaretville Central School, Margaretville, NY 12455.